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following the Field of Dreams model of infrastructuredevelopment (“If you build it, they will come.”) got towork doing the building, but the cost and complexityof IMS was proving to be too much for CSPs.In fact, when we rst discussed mentioning IMS asa part of our network impact issue, the conversationwent something like, “now that IMS is dead, what areservice providers using to do the things it should havedone?”Meanwhile, however, IMS was not resting in peace.Instead it was waiting for its moment to stride, likeTom Sawyer, into its own funeral service, breathing and grinning.That moment seems to have arrived, thanks to LTEbullishness.LTE’s strength is also its weakness: It’s all IP. Thereis no baked-in support for voice. In order to make LTEvoice work, there are essentially four choices at this time (summed up nicely on the Teknocrat blog):• Circuit switched fallback (CSFB), which is a temporary solution based on 3GPP standards.• Voice over LTE via Generic Access (VoLGA), whichis also a temporary solution and offers littlepromise of developing into a full multimediaservice.• OTT applications like Skype, which raise access/permissions issues for many carriers And,• IMSThis is an issue that was addressed by the One Voiceinitiative orchestrated through the GSMA in 2009-2010. This initiative, composed of AT&T, Orange,Telefónica, TeliaSonera, Verizon Wireless, Vodafone,Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks,Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, used currentopen standards to dene the minimum mandatory setof functionality for interoperable IMS-based voice andSMS over LTE. The recommendations of the membersof this initiative were folded into the broader VoLTEprogram in early 2010.In VoLTE, IMS has found, if not its rebirth, denitely itsride into the future:“Our 2011 survey results show that xed-line VoIP continues to be the primary servicedeployed over IMS,” said Diane Myers, Directing Analyst for VoIP and IMS at Infonetics Researchin a statement released alongside that rm’s IMSglobal provider survey. “However, there also is anotable continuing shift toward IMS in the mobileworld, evidenced by the rising number of mobileservices planned over IMS by 2013: 78% of ourrespondents will have a mobile-specic servicesuch as mobile messaging, VoLTE (voice overLTE), RCS (Rich Communication Service), and/orVoIP over 3G by 2013, up from 35% today.”According to that survey, the leading factors driving IMS deployments are the desire to possess the ability to offer converged services and LTE deployment.This may be partly driven by pressure from theGSMA VoLTE initiative to avoid the aforementioned temporary solutions whenever possible (solutionslike CSFB and VoLGA, which could prove difcult andcostly to remove).This may also be because vendors are as invigoratedby this IMS renaissance as the service providers are.Infonetics reports that Nokia-Siemens Networks,Alcatel-Lucent, and Ericsson—all of which weremembers of the One Voice initiative—are the mostcommonly cited infrastructure vendors by serviceproviders asked to identify leaders in the IMS space.Huawei, however, is named by the report as a credible threat to those European powerhouses, and has beenunderscoring the crucial nature of IMS in the growthof LTE in its own right. According to a presentationby Huawei’s Rebecca Copeland at last fall’s 3GPPrelease 8 Implementation, Deployment, and Testing workshop, Huawei is the world leader in current LTEdeployments, with 18+ commercial projects and 60 trials underway, worldwide. The bulk of these projectsare in Europe and Asia (which, according to Infonetics
IMS was waiting for itsmoment to stride, like TomSawyer, into its own funeralservice, breathing andgrinning.